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Lockheed F-104C Starfighter - Indian Nuclear Strike Aircraft

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Lockheed F-104C Starfighter - No.6 Squadron, Indian Air Force, 1977

 

"As long as the world is constituted as it is, every country will have to devise and use the latest devices for its protection. I have no doubt India will develop her scientific researches and I hope Indian scientists will use the atomic force for constructive purposes. But if India is threatened, she will inevitably try to defend herself by all means at her disposal." - Jawaharlal Nehru, 1946.

 

Even earlier than the above statement by India's future first Prime Minister, India had embarked on a nuclear research programme with the establishment of the Institute of Fundamental Research led by Dr. Homi Bhabha. After a low-key start increasing tensions with China, and the subsequent loss of territory to China in the short Himilayan border war in October 1962, the programme to produce nuclear weapons was given the utmost priority as a potential means of deterring further Chinese aggression. Whilst future plans were made for delivery by land-based missiles the urgent priority was for a 'simple' free-fall device to eventually equip the IAF's Canberra force. Code-named 'Shiva-P' (a shortened form of Shiva-Pashupatastra - with Pashupatastra being the mythological weapon used by the deity Shiva) the programme to produce India's first nuclear weapon eventually saw the detonation of a nuclear device in 1974 and the emergency introduction into service of the Shiva-P free-fall nuclear bomb in 1977. 

 

Meanwhile, Lockheed had seen the breakthrough made by the export of North American F-100D's to India and in March 1960 boldly proposed a version of the F-104C to the Indian Air Force who ordered 100 for use in the fighter- bomber role. Entering service with No.6 squadron in 1962 the F-104C's served with four front-line squadrons and was held in high regard in the low-level attack role so it came as no surprise that the Indian Air Force selected the type to carry the first Shiva-P's delivered in 1977 with No.6 squadron being declared nuclear-capable in a bold announcement made to the world in July 1977.

 

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Edited by Spinners
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Brilliant Spinners :clapping: !!! Please do release this as it makes for an interesting alternate reality.

 

But the IAF, when looking for a supersonic fighter in the 60s, did want the F-104A and/or F-101 to face the Chinese threat. US instead was offering the F-5A along with C-119s. The IAF evaluated the Mirage IIIC and EE Lightning. But neither the French nor the British were ready to grant license for locally manufacturing these fighters. This is where India's love saga with MiG-21 began and the rest they say is history.

If I may suggest something, please try and see how the a/c looks if you place the IAF roundel near the engine intake and put the Dragons patch in place of the current IAF roundel. 

Edited by ghostrider883

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